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Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Appear Confident, and Assertive, in an Interview

Assertiveness is a way of thinking and behaving that allows a person to stand up for his or her rights while respecting the rights of others. 
Here are some pointers that will help you shine in an Interview:
Hearty handshake
Stand as soon as the interviewer arrives and give a warm and hearty handshake, web to web. Don’t wait until they grab your fingers — extend your hand and then hold the handshake for a beat as you look them straight in the eye and smile and tell the person how pleased you are to meet him or her.
This simple gesture sets a strong tone right out of the gate.
Small talk
Don’t be shy about making pleasant small talk on the way to his or her office. Comment on the beautiful office space, the neighborhood, the company or the weather. Confident people strike up a friendly conversation and try to relax the interviewer (they are always nervous, too).
Use your notes
Bring your notes and don’t be afraid to use them. It makes you look well-prepared. If something of interest is mentioned about the job, pause and write it down.
Your CAR stories
Rehearse your CAR stories so you can assert yourself and interject them. What is a CAR story? CAR stands for Challenge, Approach, and Results.
This easy-to-remember mini-story format can be applied to your responsibilities to give examples about how you work and the results you achieved. So, rather than just waiting for the interviewer to ask a question, you are prepared to drop in a powerful mini-story at any point in the conversation.
So, for each major area of responsibility that you are “selling,” come up with one or two CAR stories. Write down the Challenge you faced with that responsibility, the Approach you took to accomplish it, and finally, the Results you achieved. The more you rehearse out loud, the more confident and assertive you will sound.
Prepare your questions
Come prepared with questions about the job, such as expected results after the first year, expectations of internal and external customers, and what happened to the person who had the job before.
After you have asked job-related questions, move into questions about the culture, the manager’s leadership style, the strategy, and other big picture questions. Candidates demonstrate their assertiveness by the questions they ask, as well as the questions they answer.
Take credit!
Instead of using phrases such as, “I negotiated a 30 percent reduction in the vendor contract,” they soften it: “We were fortunate to get a 30 percent reduction…”
If you did it, take credit for it. On the other hand, when a team was involved, be careful not to sound like a glory grabber.
In other words, if you lead a team effort, it could sound something like this: “I intentionally chose three influential internal customers to sit on the Steering Committee, and I also invited some powerful external customers who were skeptics. I knew if the pilot project was successful, we would need champions to get buy in across the company. Focusing this team was a challenge but in the end, the pilot was a success and they played a key role in selling it to the rest of the organization.”
You can still talk about the team’s efforts but be sure to play up your role in leading it.
Look the part!
If you’ve let your hairstyle, eyeglasses, shoes, makeup get out of date, go to an image expert. Sometimes you can find them at fine clothing stores and they will work with you as a part of their overall service.
Hold the floor!
During your interview, round out your thoughts with examples and tell CAR stories to highlight your accomplishments and your style. This is not the time to be overly modest or too concise in your style

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